Thursday, June 4, 2015

30 for 30: Day 4

I am truly buzzing right now. While it might be from the vegan mocha muffins my boss ordered to celebrate my birthday (obviously another non-raw vegan exception), I'm pretty sure it's because of the amazing interactions I've had today. As a classic extrovert, I gain energy from social encounters and my current energetic state is proof of that.

My day began with a cardio and ab session at the gym, and then I headed to work where I sifted through my email inbox while listening to 18 new songs by Florence + the Machine that my friend Lenneal had shared with me.

The excitement of my day began this afternoon, though, when I had a chance to interview rising band Phase Five on Periscope at the Famous Birthdays office. In doing so, I interacted with 5 new people who were inspirational, as they are pursing their musical dreams of stardom. I was particularly inspired by group member Alex Odon, as he talked about how Celine Dion's (yay - Quebec pride!) transition from French to English motivated him to follow in her footsteps. Before ending the interview, the group also serenaded us with a couple impressive a cappella numbers, adding more new songs to my list (photos below).

Interviewing Phase Five on Periscope (pictured here with Jeremiah)

Phase Five singing at Famous Birthdays on Periscope

Phase Five singing at Famous Birthdays on Periscope

Once the Periscope ended and we said our good-byes, I was honored to hear band member Jeremiah's feedback to me, as he noted that I was a great interviewer and made him feel really comfortable and at ease. This brings me to my positive affirmation of the day:  I am talented. It's so encouraging that I've been getting so many wonderful responses lately to my on-camera work, both at Famous Birthdays and with Unbreakable Missy & Lori. My mom even emailed me today saying, "I keep watching your 1st episode of Kelly Smith, and I get more of a kick out of it each time I see it. Cool indeed!!"

After the Phase Five team departed our office and I left work, I wanted to soak up some sunshine while I could, after the quite overcast day. So I walked to the beach and meditated while I basked in the glow of another successful Periscope session.

On my way back from the beach, I realized that I had completely forgotten to ask Phase Five group member JayC if he has seen the show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. While preparing for today's interview, I had noted that JayC was from Indiana, and must be familiar with the series, due to the titular character's home state being the same as his. So I reached out to him on Instagram and discovered that he is indeed a fan!

I was happy to hear that, since during my prep, all I could think of were two Indiana-related jokes from the show. Upon hearing that Kimmy is from Indiana, the following two lines are said:

1. From Lillian: "In Diana? But I hardly know Diana!"
2. From Titus: "That explains why you're so basic."

My social interactions continued this evening, as I met up with my friend Steph, who caught me up on the details of her recent engagement, a wonderful story of love. As we sat at juice bar The Hive (a cool new Santa Monica locale), we shared our life updates and strengthened our friendship. Steph also surprised me with a wonderful birthday card and gift, a beautiful orchid pictured below, and told me that she was delighted I was able to reschedule so that we could meet today rather than Tuesday. I expressed my gratitude for the continued birthday wishes, and yet again, I am truly thankful for the talented, amazing, and reliable network of people I know.

Orchid from my friend Steph

With yet another exciting day behind me of doing exactly what I wanted to do (and another social media post for Unbreakable Missy & Lori up), I would say that Day 4 was quite a success.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

30 for 30: Day 3

Today's positive affirmation:  I am loved. My 30th birthday was spent receiving wonderful birthday wishes from loved ones near and far (including messages from friends in South Korea and Russia!). I could truly feel the love from everyone around the world. On this day of gratitude, I am appreciative of all who spent the time to wish me well on this special day.

When I awoke to begin my 30-minute workout (arm day at the gym), I already had messages from friends and family on the east coast. It was a wonderful way to start my day of surprises. But before I discovered what was in store for me, my morning consisted of reaching out to two press contacts regarding Unbreakable Missy & Lori. And in continuation of yesterday's conversation with Beth, she sent me the following inspirational quote that made her think of me and my 30 for 30 challenge:  "You get in life what you have the courage to ask for" -Nancy D. Solomon. I also came across a Shape article about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Ellie Kemper. Kemper's honesty and openness inspire me, and I love that she pushes herself but not to extremes.

The prepared birthday surprises began at 12:50 PM today, as Missy provided me with a time and location to meet her then. I arrived to discover that we'd be doing a yoga/meditation class with a sound bath. Missy handed me a notecard from my girlfriend Nicole that provided details regarding our activity, and Missy explained that she would be spending the day with me carrying out the surprises Nicole had arranged. This first activity was a deep and fulfilling experience, and much needed with my busy schedule lately. While in the yoga studio, I focused on the familiar scent of Nag Champa incense burning, a smell I instantly associate with calm, peace, and meditation.

Unbreakable Missy & Lori at yoga

After the class, we sauntered into the bead store next door and I got to touch a unique texture, a squishy bead (On a side note, when I was five years old, I asked for a bead for my birthday. Just one. 25 years later, my wish has been fulfilled.) I then followed Missy as we walked to the Santa Monica Pier and learned that we'd be taking a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel. The view was absolutely stunning; I revelled in my time in the sun, soaking up the sunshine and landscape. Following the ride, Missy handed me a package where I discovered that Nicole had printed Unbreakable Missy & Lori stickers. I was told to hand them out to passersby as I made my way to my next destination. During this escapade, I interacted with about 10 new people, including a tourist from Prague who was also celebrating her birthday today.

My final stops were A Real Treat Candy Boutique (one of our filming locations for Episode 1 of Unbreakable Missy & Lori) and Real Food Daily, where I received lots of vegan goodies. Although my goal was to eat raw vegan for 30 days, today's exception for my favorite treats was well worth it!

At the end of my adventures, Missy presented me with her gifts, thoughtful presents (photos, a picture frame, and writing tools) that represented our strong friendship and bond. I feel so blessed to have spent such a wonderful day with Missy and Nicole (in spirit), surrounded by so much love and kindness. I am so honored. Thank you again to all who took the time to wish me a happy birthday. It was happy indeed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

30 for 30: Day 2

I'm exhausted, but I'm going to quickly provide some status updates on my 30 for 30 challenge because my second positive affirmation is "I am determined."

My day began with a jog along the beach, checking off my 30 minutes of exercise. The morning was further successful, as I discovered that Episode 1 of Unbreakable Missy & Lori had already surpassed my goal of getting 30 more YouTube views! As of this moment, we currently have 699 views and I couldn't be happier (okay, maybe just 1 more view and I could be happier). We also got closer to our 30-day crowdfunding goal, with a current standing of 4% funded.

Singing words of praise for our debut funders of Unbreakable Missy & Lori's Indiegogo campaign

At today's work meeting, our boss told us the cool fact that Mark Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt every day. As my boss and this Business Insider article explain, Zuckerberg does it because then it's one less thing for him to think about during his busy day. Let's just say I'm already onboard with this philosophy.

During my lunch break, I had an opportunity to reconnect with a fellow sorority sister who I hadn't spoken to in almost 10 years! Beth had reached out to me a few days ago asking for my help in making some big decisions, as she thought I would be able to assist her. On this day of gratitude, as we spoke on the phone, I thanked her for thinking of me and provided her with my best advice. She said that my words of wisdom delighted her, and our conversation certainly helped to strengthen our friendship.

There were two other relationships I was able to strengthen today. One was with the Director of HEC Montreal's MBA program, as we corresponded by email to provide each other with our life updates. The second was through a fortuitous text I received from my friend Harry. He informed me that his new app just launched in the iTunes store. He asked me to help spread the word about his free app Linechecker. Seizing this golden opportunity, I agreed to help him spread the word about his app if he helped to spread the word about my Indiegogo campaign. A deal was made.

I also reached out to three press contacts, listened to one new song sent to me by a friend, sent one personalized message about Unbreakable Missy & Lori, continued to eat raw vegan meals, wrote for 30 minutes, and did exactly what I wanted to do. Now I will meditate and try to rest to be prepared for whatever surprise Missy has planned for me tomorrow!

Monday, June 1, 2015

30 for 30: Day 1

Today was the first day of my 30 for 30 challenge, and I am very excited to say that I am off to a great start!

I started the morning with my easiest task:  Work out for 30 minutes every day. Exercising every day is perhaps the only thing that keeps me sane. I love weightlifting and jogging, so I typically do one of the two each day. I included this goal on my 30 for 30 as a gift to myself, one task I would be sure to accomplish each day, as it's the thing that gets me out of bed every morning. This morning, as I waited at the bus stop to head to the gym, the sweet smell of fresh donuts wafted toward me. As I truly focused on the sweet scent, I realized I was accomplishing one of my other goals:  Smell 30 scents. I loved having the sweetness surround me, engaging my senses so early in the morning. Curious, I Googled "How many scents can you smell?" The answer:  1 trillion! According to Live Science, "the nose can tell apart at least 1 trillion different odors, and possibly many more." So that certainly accounted for 1/30 of another goal: Learn 30 cool facts.

By the time I arrived at work, I was already feeling great about my day. During a meeting with my boss, I provided a clear explanation for an internal database update that would help me immensely. After requesting this change, I told my boss about my 30 for 30 project, specifically my goal to provide 30 recommendations for Famous Birthdays. He was elated and said he can't wait to be bombarded with more suggestions from me this month. At the close of our meeting, he told me that he'd brought back hats from his recent trip to Costa Rica. Fittingly, they say "pura vida," which can be said as a way of giving thanks. I thanked my boss for the gift, seizing this opportunity to fulfill my express 30 days of gratitude goal. 

"Pura vida" hat from my boss

Later, during my lunch hour, I spent 30 minutes in the sun as I ran an errand and meditated (checking off meditate for 30 days). I also prepared for my listen to 30 new songs task by asking my cousin Dan, Associate Editor of SPIN to send me a "best of" list of songs. When I get a chance during this month, I will sift through the list to find some new tunes.

After work, I rushed home to launch the crowdfunding campaign for Unbreakable Missy & Lori. With $225 raised within the first 3 hours, we've already met 3% of our funding goal. I immediately posted about the campaign on our social media accounts, meeting my promise to post 30 social media posts for Unbreakable Missy & Lori. I also reached out to (one of the) 30 press contacts in an attempt to gain some steam for our campaign and YouTube series.

I then zipped over to a raw vegan restaurant to meet my former coworker Lex who delighted in my dining choice, as I explained to him that I am eating raw vegan for 30 days. We share a passion for healthy eating, but importantly, healthy living. As we caught up, he told me about his decision to move to the Eastside of LA. One of his closest friends had announced that he and his girlfriend were having a baby. In order to be closer to his friend and the new baby, my former coworker moved. My heart sang listening to this story, and it's a beautiful start in my mission to record 30 stories of love.

When I finally returned home, I read my girlfriend's blog (she's embarking on 96 days of courage) and I found yet another story of love. It was wonderful to read her gratitude towards her mother on her mom's 50th birthday today.

As this day comes to a close, I'm reflecting on my gratitude and appreciation for the people, places, and things in my life. I'm especially appreciative of my home in Santa Monica, where I've discovered (more than) 30 cool things, but today I'm loving the park near my office and the sheer number of healthy restaurant options. Now that I've written for (well over) 30 minutes and I've said one of my 30 positive affirmations ("I am strong"), I can safely say that Day 1 of my 30 for 30 has been spent doing exactly what I want to do.